Durant, Parker Win Wooden Awards

Durant, Parker Win Wooden Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Kevin Durant of Texas captured the John R. Wooden Award in a runaway Saturday, becoming the first freshman to win the trophy and completing a sweep of the top six national male player of the year honors.

Candace Parker, who led Tennessee to its seventh NCAA championship, won the women’s Wooden Award. The 6-foot-4 sophomore beat out Duke senior Lindsey Harding and Oklahoma sophomore Courtney Paris.

Durant, a 6-foot-9 swingman, outdistanced Ohio State freshman Greg Oden in the balloting of more than 1,000 voters, including sports media and college basketball experts.

“No one deserves it more,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We could talk all day about what he’s done. The best thing is the way he’s done it as a teammate.”

Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds – one of three players in the country to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.

“Like coach always says, it’s big-time,” Durant said. “I’m just honored to be here. I wish my teammates could be here to share this with me.”

Durant is the second Texas player to win the award, joining T.J. Ford, who won in 2003.

He and Parker received their awards at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. They are named for the former UCLA coach who guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span before retiring in 1975.

Candace Parker

“This is a huge honor,” Parker said. “I’m a student of the game, I know who John Wooden is and what he’s done for basketball. I have the pyramid of success on my wall.”

Wooden formulated the pyramid of success as a philosophy for his players.

Durant received 4,351 points. He was followed by Oden (2,858), Wisconsin senior Alando Tucker (2,779), Texas &M senior Acie Law (2,708); North Carolina sophomore Tyler Hansbrough (2,142), UCLA junior Arron Afflalo (1,891), Florida junior Joakim Noah (1,741), Nevada senior Nick Fazekas (1,409), Kansas sophomore Brandon Rush (837) and Oregon senior Aaron Brooks (799).

The top four vote-getters attended the ceremony.

Parker received 224 points in the balloting of more than 200 voters. She was followed by Harding (181), Paris (169), North Carolina senior Ivory Latta (112) and LSU junior Sylvia Fowles (76).

The top three finishers attended.

UCLA’s Marques Johnson, who won the first award two years after the 96-year-old Wooden retired, presented Durant with his trophy. The women’s award was first presented in 2004.

For the second time since inception of the award, Wooden didn’t attend the ceremony. The Wooden family announced in August 2005 that he would no longer participate because of a trademark dispute concerning the use of his name.

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